The 2023-2025 Renewable Fuel Standard volumes finalized today by the Environmental Protection Agency mark an unfortunate step backward from the volumes that were originally proposed, according to the Renewable Fuels Association.
EPA’s final rule includes conventional renewable fuel requirements of 15 billion gallons for both 2024 and 2025, down from the proposed volumes of 15.25 billion for both years. RFA called the reductions “inexplicable and unwarranted.”
“The RFS was intended to drive continual growth in all categories of renewable fuels well beyond 2022; instead, today’s final rule flatlines conventional renewable fuels at 15 billion gallons and misses a valuable opportunity to accelerate the energy sector’s transition to low- and zero-carbon fuels,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “By removing half a billion gallons of lower-carbon, lower-cost fuel, today’s rule needlessly forfeits an opportunity to further enhance U.S. energy security and provide more affordable options at the pump for American drivers.”
Despite the rule’s failure to finalize the strong proposed conventional renewable fuel volumes, the action “includes solid volumes for other renewable fuel categories and brings some stability and predictability to the marketplace for the next two and a half years,” Cooper said. “Despite the disappointing reduction in conventional renewable fuel numbers, we appreciate the fact that President Biden and EPA Administrator Michael Regan have continued to prioritize renewable fuels in our nation’s energy and climate strategy.”
EPA’s final rule includes a total volume obligation of 20.94 billion gallons for 2023, of which 15 billion gallons will come from conventional renewable fuels like corn ethanol. The rule also includes a supplemental volume requirement for 250 million gallons in 2023 to make up for illegally waived volumes in 2016. EPA finalized total volumes of 21.54 billion and 22.33 billion gallons in 2024 and 2025, respectively, with conventional renewable fuel requirements of 15 billion gallons for each of those two years.
RFA also welcomed EPA’s announcement that it would not implement RINs for electricity (eRINs) as part of today’s final rule. As the organization noted in oral testimony and written comments to EPA, the agency’s initial proposal for incorporating eRINs into the RFS was overly complex and inconsistent with RIN generation provisions for all other renewable fuels. RFA joined several other stakeholder groups in encouraging EPA to reconsider its eRIN proposal and take more time to get it right.
“We appreciate that EPA was responsive to the many questions and concerns raised by numerous stakeholders regarding eRINs, and we believe the agency did the right thing by calling a timeout on implementation of those provisions,” Cooper said. “We look forward to continuing to engage with EPA on the best methods for bringing renewable electricity into the RFS program.”